Gym Climbing in Austin
The Lone Star state might not seem like a popular place to find climbing crags or gyms. However, Texas has a large climbing community and many places for climbers to send. One of them is Austin, Texas.
Recently, I was visiting Austin for a mini vacation. During my trip, I got to explore some of the city’s climbing gyms. There’s three there, and I climbed in two out of the three. They are entirely different than what I climb in Norman and Oklahoma City. But being different is cool. These are the gyms I got to visit.
Crux Climbing Center
The first gym I visited was Crux Climbing Center. As I drove up to the building, it looked like a large place, and it is. According to the Crux Climbing website, the gym opened in May 2016. So, Crux has been there for almost three years. To me, the gym looked new as I walked around.
In the picture, you’re looking at side views of “the Future Wall” on the left and “the Bouldering Corral” on the right. The Future wall is set up with competition-like problems climbers can try. I sent some of the problems on the wall. They’re sure interesting. Some of them are so wild that I couldn’t get off the mat.
Crux’s problems and routes have color-coded holds to indicate the path. The gym uses animal icons to symbolize what grade range it is. For example, a sloth is V-beginner, a koala is V0-V1, a raccoon is V2-V3, and so on. When you see the animal card, you’ll know what grade the problem or route is.
As I spotted the Bouldering Corral, I thought “holy crap, that’s a tall wall!” The height of the Corral isn’t on Crux’s website, but it looks to be about 20 feet high. When you see it, the Corral is a little intimidating at first to climb it because it’s so big. I didn’t send any of the problems here due to either fear or difficulty, but it’s fun trying them out.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get a picture of the other bouldering area, the Bouldering Cave. The Cave was crowded, and I didn’t want to be in anyone’s way. Plus, I was trying to be safe around the other boulderers.
Crux’s website claims the Cave is the largest indoor bouldering cave in Austin and Central Texas. It’s a decent-sized room with problems all over the walls, including the ceiling, aka a roof. Its problems are a lot of fun. You just need to be aware of other boulderers as you’re bouldering.
Austin Bouldering Project
Wow, this place is enormous! Austin Bouldering Project is a boulderer’s dream. Vertical and overhanging walls, small islands where you can top-out if you want, and large arches with roof structures full of problems. I heard ABP has been open for about two years. So, it’s a relatively new gym.
At ABP, I met up with Natalie, a friend I met through Girls Who Climb. It’s a women’s online climbing group on Facebook. She was kind enough to meet up with me while I was in Austin and show me the gym. She’s a neat person and I had a lot of fun climbing with her.
ABP has one large room that contains most of the bouldering walls and structures. I don’t know how big the building itself is but it’s massive. There’s a smaller area just on the other side with two bouldering walls where climbers can warm-up. We bouldered for about 4 hours, but it felt like I’d only covered a part of the gym, that’s how vast it is.
Like Crux, ABP uses color-coordinated problems. However, the color of the holds indicates the grading circuit. For example, yellow problems are the easiest, VB. Next is red, which is V0-V2, green is V1-V3, purple is V2-V4, and so on. The grading is much broader compared to other gyms. There were purple problems I sent which made me feel good because it shows I’m getting stronger.
Overall, I had good experiences at both gyms. I would spend much more time at both if I could. I almost wish I lived closer to them. If you’re ever in Austin, I highly recommend checking them out and boulder your little heart out. Until next time, happy bouldering!